Saturday, 5 February 2011

Withdrawal Symptoms... from computer

They say you don't realize how you rely on something until it is taken away. I didn't feel this intensely until my computer was taken away for repair. Actually it was still working, but overheating indicated it needed attention. It might just need a good clean, but I am not someone who likes to venture inside the computer case. (As it happened, it needed a new power supply)

On the first day without my computer, I was a basket case. I can't say I felt "bad". I just didn't want to be up and about. I spent the whole day under the duvet, with essential breaks and breaks to refuel. It was fortunate that I had made a large batch of melanzane parmigiana on the previous day.It made two very nice meals when re-heated. The breakfast that I had skipped became a supper. It was a surreal day.

It has brought home how I have become reliant on the computer for 99% of my human contact. I didn't realize how unhealthy this was until I lost use of the computer. I was looking a a few days without my computer. I was relieved when the repair guy said it might be ready the same day.

I know that I have to work on getting more human contact. I have become more and more isolated in my recent spell of general anxiety. Things have improved lately, but the urgency was never so clear to me.

I have only met a very small proportion of my online friends. Very few live locally and I rarely meet them in person. I need to find activities where I meet "real" people. I have to tear myself away from my beloved computer.

I have been going through a very unusual journey for these last four weeks, since waking one day from an anxious nightmare of sorts.

I was waking anywhere from midnight to 4 am. On most days, I would get up when I woke. I would turn on the computer almost immediately. My computer has been running until 9 or 10 pm most days for those four weeks. It might be a miracle that it hadn't overheated earlier. When it did overheat on Wednesday, it was very much a reality check.

The computer is so valuable when you are awake at anti-social hours. It is so good to find other people awake in chat rooms at any time of the day. More important, they are often fellow mental illness sufferers who truly understand.

It is interesting to write a blog on paper for a change. I think it is a new experience. I hope I have the patience to type it into blog space, when the the computer returns.


  1. Glad that you're reconnected! (and that you've taken the trouble to blog your writings). I know I couldn't survive without a computer, mine are old - I always have a spare as backup and the iPhone with which I can stay connected: during last year's depressive phase I would go days without even switching a computer on, lurking on Facebook via the phone. The CMHT approved of the fact that I was at least maintaining virtual if not real contact although I suspect that at one point A, my social worker and care coordinator suspected me of hypomania because of my apparently cavalier attitude to disk reformatting and new OS installing. A is one of the good guys but his concerns gave me a brief insight of the trade's view of bipolar and what normal is supposed to be. Whatever, the reality is that I have the knowledge and confidence to do apparently dramatic things with computers - time was I did it for a lucrative living.

    Anyway, a computer with broadband is essential for my (and I suspect many of us) sanity. Relationships are created and maintained using available technology - you and are both old enough to remember when connections were maintained by Basildon Bond and postage stamps yet we have adapted to the human trait of using whatever medium is available :-)

  2. I couldn't live without my computer. My virtual friends are the only people who understand and therefore don't judge me when I am brutally honest on how I am feeling. ("Real" people would run a mile)
    So i totally understand how you feel

  3. Yep, I am isolated. I could count on one hand how many people I would speak to physically in one week.

    I have a sense of multiple selves, and have heard voices esp when high. So I am only really alone when I am low.

    I need the computer to help me keep the sense of being intouch with other people. Glad to hear you are back online.


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